Addressing the root cause



Zaheer Bhatti

SALVATION of Pakistan lies only in pursuing progressive egalitarian goals to fashion the life of its people by taking inspiration from the great faith of Islam. Various coinages have been made in the past including ZAB’s Islamic Socialism and Nizaam-e-Mustafa Movement spearheaded by the country’s religious parties, but unfortunately over the years the country has drifted into extremes of both the ideologies; Islamic Socialism gradually transforming into liberal secularism on the one hand, and the urge for an Islamic way of life on the other drifting into half-wit interpretation of Islam by self-styled religious leaders and their followers resulting in extremism, none of which reflects the ethos of the moderate Islamic dispensation to which the majority in the country still belongs but is caught between the two.
The messing up started with cultural in-roads into the Pakistani society allowed courtesy the so-called enlightened moderation of the Musharraf regime, from the fast eroding neighbouring Indian culture in which the woman from the pedestal of a Devi, has been pulled down and degraded to become a sexual object gradually stripping the Eve’s daughter of all its modesty and female virtues. The Kama Sutra promiscuousness degenerated to obscenity and sexual orgies which were clandestinely allowed into the country with under-the-shelf sale of blue stuff in video shops mushrooming during that period.
Honest protests to purge and cleanse the society of the brewing filth turned violent smashing and burning such outlets when the State turned a deaf ear and a blind eye. The Lal Masjid Jamia Hafsa protests against a prostitution den in the vicinity turned viral and violent when Musharraf’s Information Minister tried to hush it up and bailed out the ‘Naika’ madam running den. Military crackdown on the Madrassa to quell the uprising not only became Musharraf’s Waterloo but also muddied the nation’s destiny, as the resulting chaos was toyed around with, by enemies of the State exploiting the religious sentiment of the people of Pakistan.
Rather than address concerns of moral turpitude rising in the society, the Jamia Hafsa military action against political advice became the catalyst and breeding ground for extremism. This is what the nation has been battling with ever since. Though in the process, Swat was belatedly cleansed of the menace of mercenaries but not before Tehreek Taliban Pakistan had been raised under Baitullah Mehsud a tribesman from the Mehsud Agency in Waziristan which permeated into the settled area of Swat ostensibly revolting against Musharraf’s faithless pursuits and assault upon Jamia Hafsa in Islamabad charcoaling and annihilating innocent female inmates bottled up in the premises. But in order to set the record straight about Sufi Mohammad’s role in engineering the movement for establishment of Shariah in the country, I have to not exactly take issue but to brainstorm further over his hypothesis the other day in a column by Talat Hussain whose views and professionalism I admire and respect.
“Those who remember the ascendency of Swati Taliban of Pakistan must be stunned to see Sufi Mohammad released and straight away mounting the press podium advising his former ideological children as a reformed person”, said Talat Hussain. True that Sufi Mohammad was the architect of what Talat terms ‘the so-called Tehreek Nifaaz-e-Shariah’ in Dir and Malakand Divisions of Swat, but I for one who has also followed developments in that region, was not so surprised leave alone stunned at the old man’s release nor does everyone disagree with his or anyone’s yearning for enforcement of Shariah in the State of Pakistan proclaimed as the Islamic Republic by its founding fathers.
This with fast eroding social values so evident today required timely reformation and course correction close to what had been proposed by Sufi Mohammad. Conversely, this is also true that the methodology adopted by his son-in-law Mullah Fazlullah who eventually succeeded the Mehsud leadership of TTP, turned out to be a mercenary working for the enemies of Pakistan who hijacked the sincere movement transforming it into one of treachery and mayhem, purposely defacing and distorting the compassionate and peaceful face of the great Islamic faith. He proclaimed Caliphate just as done later by another imposter Abu Bakar Al Baghdadi in Iraq and Syria, and also managed to launch a pirate FM Radio using it as his vehicle to disorient, poison and brainwash his followers against the State. While the pirate Radio was swiftly taken off-the-air by the newly established PEMRA, I distinctly remember that due to severe differences with his son-in-law, Sufi Mohammad had even at that time disagreed and disassociated with the criminal methodology adopted by Fazlullah. One at that time also wondered why the mullah was not apprehended straight away by the Musharraf regime which had bragged about bringing order in Pakistan.
There is a lot of substance in Talat’s question referring to the likes of Sufi Mohammad, Ehsanullah Ehsaan and Khadim Hussain Rizvi, where to place such symbols of organized terrorism in today’s Pakistan. My suggestion would be to confront each one, calibrate them and treat them on merit. My other submission would be to make a distinction between the Kulbhushan Yadavs and the country’s own waylaid nationals. I am sure Talat is not suggesting that those including the countless Ferraris in Baluchistan laying down arms and surrendering, should not be accepted into the mainstream leaving them no choice but to continue playing into enemy hands.
Countless examples from the life of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) show that he won over the worst of his enemies including non-believers by pardoning them. The Kabal suicide attack on the Army sports arena in Swat besides shaking the Khakis out of possible complacency indicates to me, frustration of Mullah Fazalullah and his protectors over the father-in-law’s condemnation of his mercenary role against the State. Not for a moment can Pakistan lower its guard against machinations of its arch enemy which is flabbergast over development of the fast shaping CPEC, besides the Kashmir imbroglio in which it is increasingly loosing face.
—The writer is a media professional, member of Pioneering team of PTV and a veteran ex Director Programmes.

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